All of us must stand together for truth and for our nation #DefendReligiousLiberty pic.twitter.com/TdmnB4vUnz— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 22, 2015
Ted Cruz is clearly aiming to be The Donald Alternative Who Believes in God, and who believes he who serves God best gay-bashes most.
In an Iowa rally for Cruz yesterday, Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa and Stand with Barronelle Stutzman were among nearly a complete set of the American Antigay Martyrs of America. Only The O'Connors of Memories Pizza- the founders of the movement; Jack Phillips, the martyr-baker of Colorado,and Kim Davis, the hereditary county clerk of Kentucky, were absent. The eight proved themselves more than happy to trade their previously-occupied, mostly moral high ground of adherence to religious belief for an evening's wallow in the mud with Cruz, and another media fix.
It's hard to see how any of these people have been hurt by their personal crusades to keep "them" from darkening their otherwise open-to-all businesses. Before they found fame and profit defaming others, all were obscure business owners and small-time governmental functionaries. Now they have book deals, and make media appearances, and are romanced by presidential candidates. Hundreds of political and religious websites obligingly pass around the same stories about them month after month.
And they make money! The O'Connors snarfled up nearly $850,000. The Kleins have raked in over $500,000; Barronnelle Stutzman, a quarter mil. Dick and Betty Odegaard- Cruz's pets- closed their wedding chapel after banning same-sex marriages cost them so many traditional wedding clients they couldn't make the rent. They are now set up comfortably in the antigay roadside billboard business.
If there is good to be found in Cruz's carny act, it is that it is just a sideshow. For all his brilliance, his arguments before the Supreme Court, his clerkship for Chief Justice Rehnquist, Cruz and his ilk got outlawyered all the way up the line in the decades-long marriage equality fight. He is the personification of Orwell's definition of the critic: a railway crossing gong, clanging noisily and ineffectively as the train rushes past.
And his stageful of martyrs? All they want to know is, where's the next event, and who do they split the pot?